A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: June 2022 issue
See it to believe it
Jacqueline Vanasse’s positive experiences of teaching a student with Down’s syndrome (Opinion, January 2022) reminded me of my own time teaching a student with dyspraxia. His parents had suggested he try playing a musical instrument in order to join the school orchestra, as he was having trouble making friends and showing signs of withdrawal. He started on the violin, and found it a struggle, given his difficulty with coordination – even keeping the bow on the string seemed a trial, and he found it hard to sit still. After a few months someone suggested that the violin might be the wrong instrument, and he should try the cello. That was when he came to me, and it was very soon clear that it was right for him. His progress came on in leaps and bounds, and I’m convinced it was simply because the position of the violin meant he couldn’t see the instrument in front of him, whereas the cello allowed him to improve his coordination. Very soon he was in the school orchestra and had moved up to principal cello before he left the school. I hope other teachers might have that kind of positive turnaround experience with one of their students in the future.
A cautionary tale
It’s extraordinary to me when I hear colleagues talking about the ‘post-Covid era’ as if it’s something that actually exists. Non-masked orchestra rehearsals are habitually taking place nowadays; hand sanitisers frequently not supplied even though it’s so cheap; and audience members seem blissfully happy not to take any precautions at all…
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